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Disturb the summer dust; he is so still
In look and motion that the cottage curs,
Ere he have pass'd the door, will turn away
Weary of barking at him. Boys and girls,
The vacant and the busy, maids and youths,
And urchins newly breech'd all pass him by:
Him even the slow-pac'd waggon leaves behind.
But deem not this man useless.--Statesmen! ye
Who are so restless in your wisdom, ye
Who have a broom still ready in your hands
To rid the world of nuisances; ye proud,
Heart-swoln, while in your pride ye contem-
plate Your talents, power, and wisdom, deem him
not A burthen of the earth. 'Tis nature's lave That none, the meanest of created things, Of forms created the most vile and brnte, The dullest or most noxious, should exist Divorced from good, a spirit and pulse of good, A life and soul to every mode of being Inseparably link'd
While thus he creeps From door to door, the Villagers in him Behold a record which together binds Past deeds and offices of charity, Else unremember'd, and so keeps alive The kindly mood in hearts which lapse of years, And that half-wisdom half-experience gives
Make slow to feel; and by sure steps resign
To selfishness and cold oblivious cares.
Among the farms and solitary huts,
Hamlets, and thinly scattered villages,
Where'er the aged Beggar takes his rounds,
The mild necessity of use compels
To acts of love, and habit does the work
Of reason, yet prepares that after joy
Which reason cherishes. And thus the soul,
By that sweet taste of pleasure unpursu'd
Doth find itself insensibly dispos'd
To virtue and true goodness. Some there are,
By their good works exalted, lofty minds
And meditative, authors of delight
And happiness, which to the end of time
Wilf live, and spread, and kindle; minds like
In childhood, from this solitary being,
This helpless wanderer, have perchance receiv'd
(A thing more precious far than all that books
Or the solicitudes of Love can do!)
That first mild touch of sympathy and thought,
In which they found their kindred with a world
Where want and sorrow were. The easy man
Who sits at his own door, and like the pear
Which overhangs his head from the green wall,
Feeds in the sunshine; the robust and young,
The prosperous and unthinking, they who live
Shelter'd, and flourish in a little grove
Of their own kindred, all behold in him,
A silent monitor, which: on their minds
Must needs impress a transitory thought.
Of self-congratulation, to the heart
Of each recalling his peculiar boons,
His charters and exemptions; and perchance,
Though he to no one give the fortitude
And circumspection needful to preserve
His present blessings, and to husband up
The respite of the season, he, at least,
And 'tis no vulgar service, makes them felt.
Yet further.-Many, I believe, there are
Who live a life of virtuous decency,
Men who can hear the Decalogue and feel
No self-reproach, who of the Moral Law
Establish'd in the land where they abide
Are strict observers, and not negligent,
Meanwhile, in any, tenderness of heart
Or act of love to those with whom they dwell,
Their kindred, and the children of their blood.
Praise be to such, and to their slumbers peace!
-But of the poor inan ask, the abject poor,
Go and demand of him, if there be here,
In this cold abstinence froin evil deeds,
And these inevitable charities,
Wherewith to satisfy the human soul.
No.-Man is dear to Man: The poorest poor
Long for some moments in a weary life,
When they can know and feel that they have
Themselves the fathers and the dealers out
Of some small blessings, have been kind to such
As needed kindness, for this single cause,
That we have all of us one human heart.
--Such pleasure is to one kind Being known,
My Neighbour, when with punctual care each
week, Duly as Friday comes, though press’d herself By her own wants, she from her chest of meal Takes one unsparing handful for the scrip Of this old Mendicant, and, from her door Returning with exhilirated heart, Sits by her fire and builds her hope in heav'n.
Then let him pass, a blessing on his head! And while, in that vast solitude to which The tide of things has led him, he appears To breathe and live but for himself alone, Unblam'd, uninjur'd, let him bear about The good which the benignant Law of Heaven Has hung around him, and, while life is his, Still let him prompt the unletter'd Villagers To tender offices and pensive thoughts. Then let him pass, a blessing on his head!
And long as he can wander, let him breathe
The freshness of the vallies, let his blood
Struggle with frosty air and winter snows,
And let the charter'd wind thatsweeps the heath
Beat his grey locks against his wither'd face.
Reverence the hope whose vital anxiousness -
Gives the last human interest to his heart.
May never House, misnamed of Industry,
Make him a captive; for that pent-up din,
Those life-consuming sounds that clog the airó.
Be his the natural silence of old age..
Let him be free of mountain solitudes,
And have around him, whether heard or not,
The pleasant melody of woodland birds.
Few are his pleasures; if his eyes, which now
Have been so long familiar with the earth,
No more behold the horizontal sun
Rising or setting, let the light at least
Find a free entrance to their languid orbs,
And let him, where and when he will, sit down
Beneath the trees, or by the grassy bank
Of high-way. side, and with the little birds
Share his chance-gather'd meal, and, finally,
As in the eye of Nature he has lived,
So in the eye of Nature let him die.